LDP to Propose That Diet Members Certify Funds Reports; Other Changes to Political Funds Control Law Also Eyed

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The headquarters of the Liberal Democratic Party in Tokyo

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party intends to incorporate a clause in its draft proposals for amending the Political Funds Control Law that would require Diet members to certify that they have confirmed the contents of their political funds reports, according to sources.

The LDP also plans to consider making income data listed in the political funds reports of Diet members’ political organizations subject to third-party audits. Under the current law, only the expenditures in the reports are subject to third-party audits.

The party’s draft proposals are also to include requiring lawmakers to pay into the national treasury the amount of money that they unscrupulously failed to state in their political funds reports.

The LDP was expected to formulate its draft proposals as early as Tuesday.

The proposed certification requirement is meant to indicate that party lawmakers have confirmed on their own that the contents of their reports are legally appropriate, with the aim of clarifying their responsibility for omissions and false reporting, among others.

The LDP plans to work on the details, but the party is considering imposing penalties on lawmakers who do not sufficiently check the contents of their reports, in cases when their accounting staff are criminally charged over omissions or other issues.

Currently, third-party audits are applied only to expenditures in the political funds reports created by political organizations involving Diet members, such as fund management organizations and branches of political parties. The LDP intends to extend the audit system to cover income as well.

In alleged violations of the law involving LDP factions, the practice of treating the kickbacks from factions as hidden funds without reporting them in their political funds reports came into the spotlight. Therefore, the party intends to avoid a recurrence by keeping an eye on incomes in the reports as well.

The LDP was expected to hold a working-level meeting on Tuesday at its Headquarters for Political Reform with all of the party’s lawmakers attending, attempting to consolidate opinions on the party’s own draft proposals.

“The problem of malicious and intentional false reports can’t be swept away simply by ‘amending the contents of the reports later,’” LDP Secretary General Toshimitsu Motegi said at a press conference on Monday. “We would like to proceed with discussions about confiscating the funds in question and paying them into the national treasury.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks at the Budget Committee of the House of Representatives on Monday.